NJ Lead Levels on the Rise, with Newark Leading

Posted on March 1, 2019

Today, NJ.com reported that for the first time in years, the number of New Jersey kids with too much lead in their blood is up, with Newark showing the highest increase. In 2017, of the Newark children between six months old and 26 months old that were tested, 281 showed elevated lead levels in their blood. That’s 5.9 percent of all tested children in the city, up from 5.3 percent in 2016. It’s Newark’s first increase in the city’s childhood lead cases since 2013.

Newark received wide media attention recently due to the presence of lead in their water infrastructure. However, ACNJ policy counsel Peter Chen emphasized that lead is also found in old homes throughout the city. It’s even in the soil of Newark due to the heavy use of leaded gasoline in motor vehicles decades ago.

“Lead is baked into the infrastructure of the city,” Chen said. “Until we get the lead out, we’re going to continue to see kids exposed to lead year after year.”

Earlier this year, Chen first highlighted Newark’s increase in elevated blood lead levels among the city’s children. Read his blog here.